Dr. Alexandra Naba is an Assistant Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. For more than 10 years, her research has focused on developing innovative approaches to characterize the extracellular signals controlling normal- and tumor-cell behaviors.As a doctoral student in the laboratory of Pr. Louvard and Dr. Arpin at the Curie Institute (Paris, France), Dr. Naba investigated the role of the membrane-cytoskeleton linker ezrin in normal and tumor cell morphology and adhesion. Using a three-hybrid screen, her work provided the first molecular insights into the mechanisms by which phosphorylated ezrin controls cell adhesion through its interaction with the c-Fes tyrosine kinase, and the remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton through its interaction with the protein Eps8 (EGF Protein Substrate-8) in response to extracellular cues.Her laboratory currently focuses on two research areas: one aspect of our researchaims at developing novel computational and proteomic tools and approaches to further interrogate the role of the ECM in development, physiological processes, and diseases, with a particular emphasis on cancer. A second aspect of their research focuses on deciphering the cellular and molecular by which the novel ECM glycoprotein, SNED1, regulates embryonic development (formation of craniofacial structures).